Packnet Blog

US telecommunications giant, AT&T, has renewed its call for the country’s media regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), to actively begin decommissioning the country’s conventional switch telephone network in favour of one based entirely on internet protocol (IP) telephony.

AT&T originally argued for this accelerated transition in the later part of 2012 – pointing out at the time that in its view, the FCC would merely be co-operating with the inevitable.

AT&T’s revisiting of the argument comes after the FCC itself recently raised the possibility that the existing public phone network might be non-sustainable by 2018.

Commenting on his organisation’s position, AT&T’s Hank Hultquist – the vice-president of the company’s federal regulatory division, said:

“This telephone network we’ve grown up with is now an obsolete platform, or at least a rapidly obsolescing platform…Nobody’s making this network technology anymore. It’s become more and more difficult to find spare parts for it. And it’s becoming more and more difficult to find trained technicians and engineers to work on it.”

Hultquist has also argued that IP telephony improves the quality of voice communications – observing at the same time that for this reason, and also for reasons of cost savings, many in the US have chosen independently to go down the IP telephony and voice over internet protocol (VoIP) route.

The advantages of IP telephony and VoIP have been cited by other commentators as having led many in the business community in both the US and Europe to also switch independently to these technologies – either via premises-based business phone systems, or through a more economically manageable hosted IP telephony service provided by a third party business VoIP provider or VoIP reseller.

Existing business exchanges have also, in some cases, been adapted to send and receive IP telephony communications via the installation of session initiation protocol (SIP) trunking technologies.

Callum Byrnes